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You've Got Mail: Free Agency Fallout

Topics include potential free-agent targets and the salary cap


The first wave of free agency is over. There might be another signing or two, but the draft -- and the No. 1 overall pick -- is what will have the majority of the focus the next six weeks. With that in mind, here's this week's mailbag. As always, if you want to drop a question for next week's mailbag, you can leave it by clicking here (or send me one on Twitter @Cardschatter using the hashtag #CardsQuestions):

From Scotty Dyer via

"I was so pumped when the cardinals signed Terrell Suggs and then baller Jordan Hicks, and even though it's only day two of free agency (when this question was sent in) I feel like the Cardinals always take a backseat in the offseason and don't make many moves. What's going to be different this year?"

Moves are always relative to each offseason. There have been a bunch of moves already since Kliff Kingsbury was hired and so there is change -- which isn't a shock after a three-win season. When you say "take a backseat" that needs further clarification. The teams that "win" the offseason usually aren't the best teams during the actual season.

From David Sando via

"Hi Darren, just a quick non-GM question. The road to the Super Bowl is through the division. Do the Cardinals need a QB or a pass rusher to achieve this? If we don't take Nick Bosa, what are the odds SF grabs him and then we have to deal with him? The best of my knowledge no one in the division is going to grab a QB in the first round."

Well, if your argument is that the Cardinals should take Bosa simply to keep him from the 49ers, I can't get on board with that. You need to take the guys you think will help your team the most. If the Cards take Bosa and the Niners take, for instance, Josh Allen or Quinnen Williams, that's still a good guy for them to add. They're picking 2. They're going to get a good addition, in theory, regardless of what the Cards do. I do agree the Cardinals need to do well in the NFC West first. That's an uphill climb at this point.

Until he signs somewhere, I wouldn't rule it out. But obviously at this stage, his asking price is keeping him on the market. The Cardinals definitely still need to add some defensive linemen, so until that is addressed, Gunter has to still be in the potential mix.

From Marshall Stone via

"Why would we have to trade Rosen if we select Murray at QB? Rosen doesn't hit the cap much, keep them both."

I will explain this again. We're dealing with humans here, not robots. Emotions would be involved with both players. Murray has a trump card of the ability to go play baseball if he wants. Rosen would know that they drafted Murray despite his presence. You are right, the money alone says you would be able to make it work. And the Cardinals want to do what is best for the team. But it would be complicated.

From Larry Hirose via

"Darren, as a 25-year season ticket holder I have seen great years of football and a bunch of lean years. Last year reminded me of those hot Sundays in Tempe. I am really tired of the inconsistency at kicker. Any chance we try to sign Stephen Gostkowski? I am only a fan, but I can't say that Steve Keim always makes the right personnel decisions."

No, I don't think there is any chance they sign Gostkowski. I think Zane Gonzalez has the job unless he really gets sideways, and they did sign Cole Murphy to have in the offseason. I understand the frustration of "inconsistent" kickers, but Gonzalez after joining the Cards was 5-for-5 on FGs of 49 yards or closer (he was 2-for-4 from 50+, but hopefully we haven't gotten to the point where a 50-yard field goal is supposed to be a given.) I suppose there is a chance if there is an undrafted kicker they could give him a shot against Gonzalez in camp, but there won't be any "big-name" signings.

No, there is no way to remove actual dead cap space. You can play with contract language and structures to push some potential dead cap charges into future years, but once it comes on the cap, it is there. The Cardinals will have some fairly significant dead cap space this season. However, teams across the league have learned to work with whatever dead cap space they have. It's not ideal, but it's not the hindrance it used to be for teams.

  1. Yes, Joseph has some say in the personnel, but some of those moves are simply contract related. Depending on how the Cards saw Golden and his future -- and what they might be looking at draft-wise -- once they had a chance to get Suggs, Golden was likely going elsewhere. They obviously think they can improve on Pierre, who didn't play as well last year as he did in 2017. As for Bynes and Hicks, Hicks -- when healthy -- is more of a playmaker. And linebacker play overall wasn't great last season. They felt like they needed to upgrade.
  2. I'm sure they will continue to look at OL, in the draft particularly.

Right now, a lot is fluid, but the NFL Players Association has them around $26 million. They also have to take into account the rookie pool, which will be larger than normal because they own the top pick in each round (plus extra picks; 10 total). When the top 51 rule is in effect (until the first week of the regular season, only the top 51 cap numbers count against the cap.) Their rookie pool is about $12.5 million, and by my quick estimation, somewhere between $9M and $10M of that will count against the cap once everyone signs (every pick in the first five rounds). So my guesstimate is about $16M to work with? And they always want to leave a little bit, because once the regular season starts, every player -- active roster, practice squad, injured reserve -- counts on the cap.

From Sidney Sexson via

"In all the talk about Kyler Murray's height and weight, I am more concerned about his commitment to football. I think the biggest risk is at some time he decides to have less wear and tear on the body and switch to baseball. What are your thoughts?"

Murray insists he is committed to football. This is something the teams who could draft him must feel comfortable about, although seeing Mike Trout pull in $430 million today has to give pause, right? That said, he'd have to make it up through the minors to make the big money. He'll get that right away if (when?) he is a top 10 pick. I think the only way he'd go back to baseball is if he basically fails at football. If he's successful, the wear and tear of the game won't make a difference IMO.

I can't speak for Hundley's "Fitzmagic" potential. I do know that he's likely not playing unless there is an injury to the starting QB, and that's not what anyone would want. Sure, you hope your backup can play good football. Otherwise, why would you sign him?

From Rob Stroll via

"Are the Cards going to Keep Chase Edmonds?"

I have no reason to think they wouldn't. Runs hard, smart, can catch the ball, and seems to be a fit with what Kingsbury is expected to do.

From Malcolm Sloan via

"With Markus Golden's departure, that leaves us with only two draft picks taken between years 2012-2015 on our roster .... out of the THIRTY (!) draft picks made during that time. This can't be the NFL norm, can it?"

Well, let's think about this for a minute. To begin with, 2012 is seven years ago, in a league where the average career is less than four years. There is going to be attrition that way. Also, the Cardinals are now on their fourth coach since 2012 and their third since 2015, so that too is going to impact the roster. (Steve Keim also didn't become GM until 2013). I'm not going to do the research for a mailbag, but I'm willing to wager that this kind of roster turnover isn't that odd for any team that has has coaching changes and, of course, three more drafts and a fourth on the horizon since the final year you mentioned of 2015.

For comparison, I did look up one team: The Patriots, who have had coaching stability the whole time. They had 34 draft picks from 2012-2015. They have five guys still on the roster, and one is a long snapper. So, yeah.


Yes, I think if you are a good player who doesn't get hurt, teams find a way to keep you. Every player who reaches free agency, there is a reason the team felt it wasn't worth keeping them around -- either they weren't good enough, or some team was going to pay money to that guy which was more than the original team thought was worth it.

From Vernon Stout via

"We need to look at corners still in the draft. They need to look at receivers in the draft. Why can't they take number one receiver at number one or a corner at number one, why not?"

Because given the talent at the top of the board at other positions, there is not a wide receiver or a cornerback that is worthy of the number one overall pick.

From Brad Cain via

"Hi Darren, My question is, how do you think Rosen is holding up mentally with all this Murray talk going on? Personally I'm sick of hearing about him coming to the Cardinals, there's a reason we moved up to get Rosen last year, I'm really hoping it's just talk and not effecting Rosen negativity."

To be honest, I haven't talked to him. I know that at the Scouting combine, Kliff Kingsbury said in multiple interviews Rosen understood what was going on. I know that Rosen, from what I know about him, is pretty strong mentally. But in the end, I do not know.

Ideally, in this year between the combine and draft? First thing is I'll go for a run, I'll knock out some errands/chores, hopefully I'll get my son over to the gym so he can get some shots up, maybe there could be some video game time, I'll probably watch some basketball, and I'll pray there is zero conversation about anything quarterback-related.

Humphries, as far as I can tell, is set to be the left tackle. So I don't think they'd make a run at Penn, no.

I'm guessing you didn't think I'd use this one, yet here we are. Does he have a house in Chandler?